If you saw me working down the road you wouldn’t know that I don’t actually use soap to clean my laundry. Every piece of laundry in my house is actually washed with berries, from the clothes we wear, our towels and even linens. As odd as it sounds, over the years we’ve been conditioned to think we need suds to keep our clothes and selves clean. Instead what the suds mean is we’re probably using (way) too much. And somewhere over the years my skin and allergies have become more sensitive to harsh chemicals – so a more natural solution especially when it comes to undergarments was needed.
I’ve been a fan of the show Shark Tank for a while now, seeing a lot of smaller businesses and new ideas is always inspirational. I’ve found a lot of great items from the show and have had some great results. One of the episodes featured Eco Nuts, an all naturally sourced laundry detergent product. They’re actually “soap berries” from a plant in the Himalayas, that doesn’t contain any processed chemicals. Eco Nuts reached out to see if I wanted to sample their products, and we haven’t looked back. Included was their liquid detergent from soap berries, a package of soap berries and some of their wool dryer balls.
Let’s start with the Eco Nuts King Size Wool Dryer Balls. Each dryer ball is approximately the size of a soft ball, and double the size of other brand dryer balls. We made the switch to wool dryer balls a few years ago, and have even added in a few scented ones so we can get a similar effect as dryer sheets. The dryer balls essentially replace dryer sheets and since they’re reusable for multiple uses, the pay themselves back in no time. They lift laundry while it’s drying, which helps dry them faster. And while it may sound like someone is playing the drums in your dryer, they’re soft enough that nothing gets damaged. They’ve been a great chemical free dryer option for us, and I absolutely love the larger size, it makes it a lot easier to find four larger dryer balls instead of 6 small ones that get into pockets or legs of pants.
Now, for washing without soap. Yes, that sounds a bit odd doesn’t it? But there isn’t a chemical soap in the Eco Nuts Organic Laundry Detergent. The “nuts” are dried berries that when added to water create saponin, a natural cleanser that you can use to clean your laundry. The first time you use it you may be a bit hesitant – it just sounds so weird, but bear with me and give it a try. You simply remove 4 of the nuts from the box and add it to the provided bag and close it. Toss it into your laundry and let it go to work. Each box does approximately 100 loads of laundry in conventional and HE washers, and each bag of soap nuts can be used over and again for about 10 washes. I’ll be honest, I’ve gone well over the 10 washes each time and still had great results.
When you first open the box you may be a bit confused – there certainly aren’t 100 Eco Nuts in there – but that’s because you don’t need one per load, and they are reusable. I found the Eco Nuts have a faint scent of vinegar, which I have used in the past for laundry. Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of the scent, your clothes will not have a scent when you are done washing them. Fresh out of the box, the Eco Nuts are whole and a bit rigid, but since their seeds have been removed – they are hollow.
After each laundry day, I place my bag of Eco Nuts in the detergent reservoir in the washer so they will dry out completely for the next time I have to do laundry. But on a regular laundry day, they do go from load to load without being dried out between. The bag the Eco Nuts are in sometimes does get lost inside the clothes and I can’t find it – so it has gone for a ride in the dryer a few times. But inside your box of nuts is an extra bag, I usually have two sets of Eco Nuts ready to go just for this situation. Last week I had to replace my Eco-Nuts, and this week while doing laundry I peaked in to see how they looked – this is after about 3 loads of laundry. You can see some change in the appearance, but they are working great still.
After a couple weeks of laundry (and probably too many loads) you will see a huge difference in appearance of the Eco Nuts – this doesn’t mean they’re not working, but not as well as they have in the past. You don’t have to do a visible inspection, but if you squeeze the bag and hear a paper like sound crunching, it is time to replace them. I overused this Eco Nuts, and dried them a few too many times – but you can see the difference now. Don’t worry – they can be tossed in your compost when they’ve gotten to this stage!
With my allergies, I’ve found that Eco Nuts are the perfect alternative to chemical detergents. We do all of our laundry on a cold wash as well, and they have worked well to stains and messes. The only time I have to break out any other cleaners with them is if there is an oil based spot, but this is the same thing I’ve had to do with other detergents as well. The Eco Nuts don’t suds a lot, but that doesn’t mean they’re working, and you expect your clothes to come out clean and soft each time.